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Estate Planning

What is estate planning?

Good estate planning is vital and is required by just about anyone who has been in the workforce for a few years. Simply, it is the strategies, processes and actions you take now to preserve your assets for yourself, your family and your successors, and to ensure that your estate is administered and distributed to the maximum benefit of who you choose.

Why do I need an estate plan?

An estate plan helps to ensure that your wishes regarding your health and assets are clear and can be followed accordingly, before and after your death. Items that are part of your estate could include your financial assets, life insurance, superannuation, real estate, businesses, cars, personal belongings, and debts. Estate plans provide a strategy for important decisions regarding your health and assets.

Estate planning includes setting up a financial power of attorney, and health care directives, including a living will, a will and sometimes a trust structure, as well as identifying beneficiaries to your assets.

Without an estate plan, the law will determine the fate of your medical care and your assets. This may not be in line with what you actually want.

There’s a misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy. This simply is not true. Everyone has an estate. An estate plan, including a will, are not static documents that can be set and forgotten. It's not difficult to change a will. A will can be amended, modified, updated or even completely revoked, at any time.

Estate plans are living documents and require regular review

We recommend reviewing an estate plan, including a will, every 2 years, due to the ever-changing tax laws and major life events such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, birth, death or an inheritance occurs.

We're here to make it simple

At Townsends Lawyers, we take the complexity out of estate planning, so that everyone can understand how it benefits them and their family. It takes a little time, and requires a little focus, but good estate planning brings rewards many times over in tax saving, asset protection and knowing families will be well looked after. We can help you organise your information, so that together with a lawyer, you can develop a plan that works for your goals. Contact us for a confidential conversation about how we can help you. 

When you appoint an Enduring Guardian you are designating someone to look after your residential and health-care issues if you are not able to.

A power of attorney is a document which appoints a person to act on an individual‘s behalf in relation to the appointor’s property and financial affairs.

In Australia, testamentary freedom (being able to give your estate to anyone under your Will) is balanced by laws that allow Courts to use their discretion and ensure that eligible persons are adequately provided for from the proceeds of the estate.

There are a number of ways that a Will can be challanged. Besides challenging the validity of a Will, in NSW, certain persons, categorised as eligible persons under the Succession Act 2006, can make what is called a Family Provision Claim if they have been left without adequate provision from a Deceased estate.

It might come as a surprise to learn that your former spouse or a spouse from whom you have separated can still make a claim on your deceased estate even though you have left your estate to your children or someone else in your Will. We can draft an agreement for your former spouse to (hopefully agree to) and the subsequent court documents to seek the court’s approval of the agreement.

A so-called "Living Will", "Medical Direction", "Advanced Health Care Directive" or similar document by whatever name is a voluntary statement outlining the types and conditions of medical care that the person would prefer in a given situation prior to requiring that care. A person can also nominate one or a number of substitute decision-makers to make decisions on their own behalf.

By using this document you provide private detailed advice on how you want your Executor to administer your estate. These are a must-have if you have a complex estate or a family trust that you currently control.

What you put in your superannuation death benefit nomination must be carefully considered as part of your estate plan. It should not be an automatic ‘form-filling’ process.

There is much more to estate planning than just a Will but it is perhaps the central document.